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Women’s hoops coaches find creative ways to fill schedules

Louisville girls’s basketball coach Jeff Walz is aware of it’s probably video games will likely be scrapped on the final minute this season due to the coronavirus.

So he arrange a gaggle textual content with fellow coaches at a few dozen faculties inside driving distance. The thought is, if a recreation will get canceled late, they’ve a fast method to find out if another person can play as an alternative.

If that appears chaotic and haphazard, welcome to the 2020-21 school basketball season. With every week till tipoff, some groups have not more than a handful of video games scheduled and others are lining up bus rides and home-and-home collection like they’re in baseball’s minor leagues.

“As soon as you found out that a game is canceled, you ask: Does anyone need a game?” he stated. “We kind of all talked and except for a few teams within the same league – Ohio State, Indiana and Purdue – we’ve all agreed that if we have an opening we’ll play. We’ll figure it out if it’s home or away, things like that.”

Walz stated he bought the thought from a buddy of his, Scott Davenport, who’s the lads’s basketball coach at Bellarmine.

“My thought was that we have to do everything we can as coaches to provide as many safe opportunities to play as we can,” Walz stated. “It’s been one hell of a 2020. I don’t see it getting any better at the start of 2021. The responsible thing to do is to try and exhaust all resources we might have to give these student-athletes a chance to play.”

Nearly two dozen faculties have posted over the past week searching for video games on a scheduling board on Basketball Travelers’ web site.

Arizona coach Adia Barnes took it a step additional, reaching out on Twitter to attempt to find video games.

“Just last week we lost two games, and the challenging part is navigating different conferences and their travel bans,” Barnes stated. “When you’re a coach and have to resort to Twitter to find games, it’s comical. We still have two games to fill and eight days before opening up. Those are the times we’re in.”

It’s not simply the non-conference video games which have compelled creativity in scheduling. Many conferences have modified their codecs in scheduling to attempt to make enjoying safer and extra probably to occur. Leagues, just like the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, have modified to enjoying the identical staff twice at residence in a given weekend. It was the fourth iteration of their convention schedule.

“As we learned more about the virus and transmission of it, it made more sense to condense travel,” MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor stated. “We’re playing Friday and Saturday at the same site mostly to make it easier with testing. We spent a lot of time on the schedule.”

The Patriot League has modified to a three-division format this season with groups enjoying 4 video games towards every regional opponent beginning in January. Additional league video games will likely be performed exterior the mini-conferences to full the 16-game regular-season schedule. The distinction between the Patriot League and different conferences is that the groups will play a home-and-home set every weekend, driving forwards and backwards between campuses. While that’s not too unhealthy for some faculties, it units up probably lengthy bus journeys on recreation day for Army, Holy Cross, Boston University and Colgate.

“Our presidents felt like reducing travel and eliminating overnights to the extent possible is the best way for us to proceed,” Patriot League Commissioner Jennifer Heppel stated. “That’s why you see some of the home-and-homes. We just need to keep an eye in so many areas over the next two months. When we play in January, there could be future changes. This was the model.”

Heppel stated the convention went from about 70 in a single day journeys final yr to 10 this season.

“The travel we used was about a 200-mile one-way guideline to say that is acceptable for a one-day trip,” she stated. “What’s great is it’s pretty easy to adapt. It’s not only the pandemic, but also weather. We adapt for weather for the basketball season all the time. If it’s not safe to leave, you stay, you might look into coming in a day early.”

Patriot League faculties are solely enjoying convention video games this season, excluding Army and Navy. The service academies have been granted an exemption – their gamers can’t stick round for an additional yr of eligibility that was granted by the NCAA as a result of they’ve army commitments.

“The academies have different missions,” Army coach Dave Magarity stated. “It’s great that the presidents understand that we’re in a unique situation and that our kids aren’t permitted to redshirt.”

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More AP girls’s basketball: https://apnews.com/Womenscollegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dougfeinberg

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